Virtual events, such as massive online open courses (MOOC) and intimate webinars, are excellent learning platforms. Learning environments in the online space are rich opportunities for growing a business and picking up new skills. One unique challenge that people face with online events is how to stay distraction free. This is an important concept as it can help event attendees get the most out of the event.
What are the Unique Distractions?
When people attend online events, they have a few unique distractions to contend with. These include conflicting schedules, noisy environments and competing for online material. Conflicting schedules get in the way when an event is hosted at a particular time and the person has an off-line situation come up in his or her schedule that will pull them away from the event.
Noise in the environment may detract from the experience, especially if the online event leans heavily on audio content. Competing online material will be a distraction if the attendee loses interest in the event and decides to open up a secondary tab on their computer while the event is taking place.
With all of these distractions in place, is it possible to keep attendees’ rapt attention? If you sign up for an event, is it possible to enhance your learning? Yes, many people have found success. Studies show that webinars, for example, are powerful lead-generating tools in marketing today - often 20% to 40% of attendees become customers. The key is to combat distractions strategically.
How can you combat distractions? Take a three-pronged approach. The first part is work that you can do up front when you schedule an online event for your business or agree to attend an event. If you are creating the event, consider offering several sessions so that the attendee can decide which one will work best.
Send reminders one week, one day, and one hour before your event. Offer a replay of the session in case something came up. If you are trying to learn from an event, clear your schedule so that you can give it your top priority, just as you would if you had signed up for a class held in a physical space.
In addition, if you are hosting an event be sure to include visual content in addition to your spoken material. When attending an event, use headphones or find a quiet space for learning. To combat competing for online content when composing a webinar or course, keep your material engaging. Ask questions and avoid downtime. Keep the pace moving.
The common distractions inherent in online events don’t have to detract from the experience. By understanding the distractions, we can work with them to make the event into a positive, rewarding experience with lasting value.
About the author: Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.